Tuesday 14 July 2015

When a deal is not a deal

Hmmmm....there are 2 international deals out there today and both seem to be a very bad idea on the part of the 'superpowers'

Firstly, to Greece, where the Parliament is expected to sign on to the EU bailout terms. These terms, as many commenting and contributing to this blog know full well (see Phil's comments on yesterday's post for a very clear example), are simply unachievable for a Country with Greece's problems.

We will be back at the Grexit table in due course.

Secondly, we have the nuclear deal with Iran. At no point have Iran said they will not develop nuclear weapons - as they have always said this. Nuclear Inspectors will not be allowed unfettered access which suggests that Iran still has much to hide.

Moreover, Iran is in nearly full control of Iraq, with many divisions now on the ground in the Country and the forces opposing ISIS all controlled by Iranian commanders.

That Obama wants to 'reset' the US position in the Middle East is simply crazy. Of course, plenty of Iranian oil will flow and this will further undermine Russia, Venezuela and ISIS, but the price for this is backing the Shia's against the Sunni's and further inflaming the Islamic civil war.

All for nothing as the Iranians won't really co-operate until it is too late.

How can it be that the Western leaders are so desperate and weak that they keep making mistake after mistake?


Nick Drew said...

things are getting worse (again) in Ukraine, too

like I said before, a good job the chinese aren't feeling so bouyant just now

Putin must reckon, he just has to hang in there and the FSU will fall back in his lap eventually

andrew said...

One small glimmer of light at the end of the announcement

To help support growth and job creation in Greece (in the next 3-5 years) the Commission will work closely with the Greek authorities to mobilise up to EUR 35bn (under various EU programmes) to fund investment and economic activity, including in SMEs. As an exceptional measure and given the unique situation of Greece the Commission will propose to increase the level of pre-financing by EUR 1bn to give an immediate boost to investment to be dealt with by the EU co-legislators. The Investment Plan for Europe will also provide funding opportunities for Greece.


I think many miss the understanding that to the 19 Eurozone finance ministers, greece is not really a sovereign country.

It is Liverpool under Derek Hatton (who I read has just been allowed to rejoin the labour party)

We can expect fiscal authority to be increasingly 'shared' (with the Germans holding the pen that writes the rules) across the entire eurozone in future.

dearieme said...

If Nixon and Kissinger were in charge we could be confident that a deliberate US plan is afoot to sunder the Sunni world by increasing the power of the Shia in the Middle East. But since it's Obama and Kerry, it seems likelier to be one dunderheaded decision after another.

Blue Eyes said...

I have lost interest. Call it "bullshit fatigue". The Germans, Greeks, Americans, Iraniqians et al. can do what they like as far as I am concerned. I just want to know whether I can afford to move somewhere with a garden.

Steven_L said...

Well it took from the crash of 1929 to 1936 before the Germans began invading foreign folk.

This time 2008 to 2015.

Not long from some bloodshed.

CityUnslicker said...

longer than that SL, the Weimar collapse was in 1923 - so 13 years before it really kicked off. I sort of doubt greece has an economy to re-arm and try to conquer southern europe; but the modern way is terrorism and sadly this may come in to play evenutally - after all it has done in other situation for less.

BE - I find it all very interesting, it is like starting game of snooker by whacking the reds as hard as you can and seeing if one goes in for you or not....

DtP said...

@BE - i've got a massive garden and it does my head in. The 2 nearest death experiences i've had have been gardening and I refuse to die because of a dodgy lawnmower - am seriously thinking about concreting the bugger or astroturffing it. Err....hope that's cheered you right up.

There's a decent enough background to the Nuke talks here:


and Craig Murray has a bee in his bonnet over it too, if you're really bored.

Phil said...

"It is Liverpool under Derek Hatton"

Interesting analogy. However there are key differences that should be a lesson to the EU:-

1] We kept an eye on what Derek was up to and stopped him before it got out of hand

2] We didn't threaten our fellow countrymen with expulsion from the UK and introduction of a new currency

Blue Eyes said...

2] and we'll be living with the consequences of our inaction for generations.

andrew said...

I meant it from the pov that someone (hatton) seriously damaged Liverpool's economy in the pursuit of a political point - and that is what Tspiras has just done to Greece.

At the time (~86?), many people thought things had got out of hand - google hatton liverpool if interested.

He was stopped because Liverpool is a part of the UK and subject to the laws of the land.
Greece was a sovereign country. There was a bit of a difference there. The Euro is not the EU and greece was never threatened with exit from the EU.

I expect there will be rule changes soon that will stop this sort of thing like Thatcher stopped Hatton - by centralising power - effectively meaning that the Eurozone countries are not really countries anymore.

An understandable reaction, but not the right one imo.
For the first time I feel the EU might not be a good place for the UK.

Anonymous said...

there I think you have it.
It seems there is a new treaty on the horizon -post UK referendum, quelle surprise- which will centralise economic governance over the Eurozone countries and no doubt, by some means or another, the UK.

Nick Drew said...

Anon - but if Balls/Brown were capable of coming up with the '5 tests' to keep us out of the EUR, it isn't beyond the wit of Osborne to do the same for the treaty you anticipate

as I keep saying, the timing is in Cameron's favour - if he wants to take advantage in negotiations - the 'events' (greece, then spain) are happening in 2015-16

(of course I realise such optimism is water off many a duck's back)

BTW it must be at least a possibility that actual revolutions break out in the mediterranean countries at which point, frankly, BAU is off

Blue Eyes said...

Quite, ND.

Also, even if we do vote to stay in, and the next treaty change involves a major centralisation, we ought to have a referendum on that treaty - either under the Coalition's rather stupidly-named Referendum Lock or just because people will probably demand it.

AndrewZ said...

Obama's pretend agreement ensures that the Iranians will be free to develop nuclear weapons. Then the Saudis will get them to deter the Iranians. The smaller Gulf states will want them to avoid being totally dependent on the Saudis. The Egyptians will want them for reasons of national prestige. All their neighbours will begin to wonder whether it's too dangerous to be without them.

But the launch sites will be much closer to their targets than in the Cold War. If a warning system indicates a launch there will be very little time to decide if it's a real attack or an instrument failure. There will also be much less certainty about what a real attack would look like, because none of the potential belligerents will be certain that their opponents are rational actors. They may not even be sure who really controls the other side's weapons. The risk of an accidental nuclear war will be much higher than in the Cold War.

There is also a high risk of escalation because each side has to assume that it will only have one chance to respond before it is annihilated. Therefore the Iranians might well decide that if they ever have to launch their missiles they will always fire a few at Israel regardless of who they are actually fighting, because it will be their last chance to do so. The Saudis might do the same. Israeli retaliation would destroy them in turn. The Iranians might even attack European cities or American military bases in the region, prompting retaliation from other nuclear powers.

Obama is giving the Middle East a bright future. Brighter than a thousand suns.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

@AndrewZ: the Saudis can't even maintain their own aircraft (though they pretend to, and have legions of personnel who purport to do so), which is why lots of ex-RAF ground crew make a packet working for Airwork fixing 'em. Something to do with Kismet, probably. Even their fucking carpets are full of errors - this was explained away to me by one local as "only Allah can be perfect".

The idea the Arabs could run their own A-bomb programme, the epitome of precision engineering and scientific rationalism, in a culture of patronage and mediaeval obscurantist irrationality, without western experts, is comical in the extreme. There's a reason the Israelis keep thrashing 'em, you know. The Saudis in particular have some of the finest 7th century minds in the world.

Both Wahhabi & Iranian Shia Islamism are such retrograde forces in the world we should just arm whoever is losing and keep them at it, until they lose their collective madness and join at least the 17th century.

Nick Drew said...

wash your mouth out, anon, and be extremely careful not to say that anywhere near an Iranian

Anonymous said...


My question was a reference to an earlier one by SW. And for the sake of clarity as advised by my Persian friends, Iran is not Arab


AndrewZ said...

Sebastian, I am assuming that the Saudis would buy complete or near-complete weapons from another country (perhaps Pakistan) rather than develop their own kit.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

@Anon: no they are not. I was referring to the prospect of the Saudis building their own A-bomb.

As for buying them in; well, A-bombs are not easier to keep on top line than a Tornado or F-15... Weapons systems are not like consumer electronics which you take off the shelf and plug-in. It takes an awful lot of skilled effort to keep them in working order. The Iranians are capable of doing so. The Saudis, not so much.

James Higham said...

How come? Agenda and incompetence combined.